Bye-Bye Business Link: Savvy Start-ups

With the Government's Business Link closing in November this year, aspiring entrepreneurs will lose what has proven to be a valuable source of advice and guidance. The financial turbulence experienced in recent years saw some of the largest companies in the UK closing their doors, not only leaving thousands unemployed, but also making the way clearer for new SMEs to appear. New companies are continually being started, with the SME sector accounting for 99.9% of all enterprises at the beginning of 2010.

Of course, not all start-up stories have a happy ending. Without the proper preparation, finding your feet as a business can quickly turn into a falter from which you cannot recover. Without the Government's support via Business Link, you may be asking from where you can get the advice you'll need to start up a new business? Well, the Government themselves are suggesting professional business coaches are your answer.


If you're seeking the assistance and guidance that you need before, during, and after your start-up, Notion's Business Success Strategies programs may be an indispensable resource, offering the services of a business coach in a concise, accessible format. In particular, Notion's 'Bulletproof Your Start-up' programme provides an alternative source of advice from that which Business Link has provided over the years, delivering simple and practicable advice.

What kind of advice?

Beyond your initial idea, there are several crucial things you must consider carefully before you will be ready to launch your business. It's important not to rush through these initial stages. Whilst your time is a valuable resource, it isn't the most critical factor when it comes to launching a new business.

Falling into the trap of the belief that it is essential to get yourself "out there", many business owners have produced business cards, a logo, a website and a slogan before they have conducted the necessary research and faced the trickier issues which need confronting if the business is to have any real chance of success. Most of these processes cost not only time, but also money too, which can fool you into believing that you are building a brand identity and a business whilst you are, in fact, simply wasting your precious resources.

Reign in your enthusiasm.

Whilst no venture will succeed without passion, no venture will succeed with your passion alone. New ideas are exciting, but taking the time to think out your idea and ask yourself some difficult questions before you commence is crucial. One of the most important things to be is honest with yourself and to probe your business proposal from all angles before you progress to spending money on marketing, for example. You cannot allow your emotions alone to convince you that you are prepared to launch a business.

The reason for this is that you need direction. For instance, there is no sense in spending twenty per cent of your start-up budget on advertising if you are not clear on who you are trying to target. This may seem obvious, but a staggering number of business owners take the wrong approach, throwing a wider net and then narrowing their audience. By being clear on who you want to attract as customers, you can work on this specific demographic and later adapt your approach to appeal to a wider range of customers, once your business is firmly established.

A lot of business owners rush to hire premises and purchase products because they feel the need to be active once they have taken the decision to launch their company. Before any of this, however, they should be ensuring that business really exists where they believe it does - have they sold anything already, is there confirmed demand?

So, how do you go about doing this?

Primarily: research. Whilst free time and flexibility may be an issue before start-up (such as for those trying to support families and mortgages alongside developing their new company), checking your facts and figures whilst investigating your potential market is fundamental. If your new venture only receives attention outside of another job for example, be sure that the time you do spend developing it is not wasted. Speak to potential clients. Ask questions which allow you to take on board suggestions about how you could do business before you even begin.

This is not to say that you should sit tight and remain silent about promoting your company's services until it is fully fledged. Discussing what you intend to offer is not only great research, but it may even allow you to secure clients before you officially set up the company! Talk to people in the know. Analyse your competitors and your ideal clients.

Give structure to your start-up.

There is no numbered to do list when preparing a new venture, but there are several areas that must be addressed prior to launch. The programme 'Bulletproof Your Business Start-Up' guides you through these areas, encouraging you to conduct the necessary self-analysis, the essential research and other pivotal tasks in a structured and measurable way.

Ensuring that your time is spent in the most constructive way possible in these early stages can help you to avoid turbulence when you are ready to take off. It can also assist you in answering this question, one of the most terrifying questions entrepreneurs face, the query: 'Is this idea ready?'.

Our coaches are available for free consultations, and this program can help you to ensure that your company has an unshakeable development path. You can be certain that you are launching something you truly believe in, founded on rational and researched demand, not only based upon your instincts and emotional intuition.

Remember that Business Link recommends business coaching.

Whether you're considering launching a new company, in the process of doing so already, or a few months down the line and wondering what you might have done differently to see more success, contact us. Get savvy about the seven essential start-up issues before you gamble with the stability that your current job provides. With our assistance, in spite of the loss of Business Link, you can ensure that you not only have a start-up strategy, but that it's bullet proof too.

Kind regards

Laura Ashley-Timms - Director of Coaching